Papadopoulos lawyer Thomas Breen’s pre-Trump-Russia experience – Law News

on Oct31

31 October 2017 | 6:35 pm

The lawyer representing George Papadopoulos, the former campaign adviser to Donald Trump who pled guilty to lying to the FBI, is a onetime Cook County prosecutor turned veteran of the Chicago criminal defense bar. Thomas Breen, 70, runs his five-lawyer practice Breen & Pugh from the Monadnock Building in the Loop. Chicago lawyer Edward Genson, who has represented R. Kelly and Conrad Black, said Breen, a graduate of Notre Dame and Loyola University School of Law, has “the gift of the Irish” in the courtroom—bright, well-spoken and nimble before a jury. He is “an extraordinarily competent trial lawyer, and Mr. Papadopoulos is lucky to have him.”

Here are four key points to know about Breen.

• Breen was lead trial counsel for Rolando Cruz when he finally was acquitted in 1995 of the rape and murder of 10-year-old Naperville girl Jeanine Nicarico, a crime for which he’d twice been convicted and sentenced to death.

• Breen worked in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the mid-1970s. While working on the Cruz case, he encouraged Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions to delve into one of his old cases: the conviction of Michael Evans and Paul Terry for the rape and murder of 9-year-old Lisa Cabassa. Eventually, DNA evidence overturned those convictions; the men had spent a combined 54 years in prison. Other former prosecutors thought “Breen had gone to the dark side and that (Evans and Terry) were guilty,” writes author Amy Bach in her 2010 book “Ordinary Injustice.” But Lawrence Marshall, the center’s former legal director, said in 2008 that Breen “was really stand up in telling people, ‘We blew it.'”

• Breen’s father, an FBI agent during World War II, was a native South Sider, and many assume the defense lawyer is too when they hear him talk. Breen actually was born and raised on the North Shore and joked in a 2008 profile that he grew up on “the poor streets of Kenilworth.” A boxing champion in college, Breen says on his website the experience “helped him to learn how to ‘duck and weave’ and how to throw a punch.”

• His past clients include Cook County judges, former Chicago Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, the late Chicago Ald. Fred Roti and the alleged mob boss James Marcello. He currently represents ex-officer Joseph Walsh, one of the Chicago policeman accused of covering up events surrounding the shooting death of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald.



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